So, I was listening to what little music is left on Music Television (MTV) this morning and I heard a song playing that sparked a second email for the week.  I've heard this song a thousand times on the radio, but I never really listened to the words.  You see, I've been thinking a lot lately about the little things...as in, the little things in life that make it all worth it.  I think we can all agree that it's the little things that are most important.  Anyhow, when I glanced at the title of this song and noticed that it was aptly named, "The little things," I figured I'd actually pay attention to the words...

 

Never thought I'd be saying this, but thank you Colbie Caillat (the singer of said song) for providing me a little added motivation to write about an important, often overlooked topic this morning...

 

Again, I think we can all agree that it's the little things in life that are most important, but while we may be able to agree on that, do we actually live that way?  Do we really concentrate on those little things, or do we focus on the big things and take the little things for granted?  If we do concentrate on the little things, is it something negative?

 

Three years ago, if you would have asked me what is important, I would've looked you straight in the eye and told you that money was the key to it all.  Money can buy you the dream life and put you in a position to do good things.  It can afford you the freedom to do what you please and the security to do so without fear.  I would've told you that a big thing like money made it possible to have those little things...

 

Three years later, I'll tell you that I don't agree with myself from three years ago.  Today, I'd look you straight in the eye and tell you that the little things make having the big things worthwhile.  I'd also tell you that the "little things" is a very broad phrase, and you have to come up with your definition for what exactly is meant by it.  To some, it's family and friends.  To others, it's golf and food.  There's nothing finite about it.  It's an ever changing expression, all dependent upon what YOU think. 

 

In an effort to make yourself a better you, identify the little things that are important and make those things a more prominent part of your life if you haven't already.  Proverbially wear those on you as badges of self-assurance because what I'm about to dive into in the next paragraph has the potential to make you lose sight of those things. 

 

Relationships and the little things are intricately linked.  Be it personal or work-related, the fact that the little things are different from person to person makes a relationship challenging.  It is for that reason that you have to keep an open mind and, most importantly, learn to communicate.  By communicate, I'm not talking about the gift of gab.  There are plenty of smooth talkers who can't muster up three sentences when it comes to real communication.  I'm talking about the ability to effectively and genuinely relate who you are and what's important to you.  It is this kind of communication that allows your relationships to flourish.  Respect is earned through the combination of this type of communication and hard work.  It is a lack of this type of communication that leads to fights, squabbles, and the ending of relationships.  

 

I, thus, encourage you to find a way to communicate the little things that are important to you.  Since we don't live in a world where job interviews and first dates often include such communication, it'll be a challenge.  However, there may never be a more important challenge.  It's not easy and, unless you've reached that self-actualized point in your life where you are completely secure with who you are, it will force you out of your comfort zone.  The risk is worth the reward...

 

...At the same time, I also encourage you to realize that not everyone with whom you have a relationship may be strong enough to accept such a challenge.  Thus, be open-minded and patient.  People have a way of showing you what little things matter to them with non-verbal cues.  You just have to watch for them.  For instance, I had a friend in chiropractic school that would walk down the hall saying hi to everyone.  Most of the time, people responded in a friendly demeanor, but every now and then, I'd be walking toward him and the person a few yards ahead of me would completely ignore the guy.  You could just see the disappointment on his face.  So, noticing that non-verbal cue, I beat him to the punch and offered him a big "hello" and a small conversation.  To that guy, being friendly is a little thing that is important to him.  One would hope that he'll end up in an office with happy co-workers and a wife and kids that are pumped when he returns home. 

 

Honestly, I'm not sure where to call it quits with this email, so I'll leave you with a few examples of little things that people have shared with me...

 

-Common courtesy goes a long way with people.  Having manners falls into this category, as far as I'm concerned.  Little things like saying "thank you" when someone offers you a "bless you" after you sneeze, responding verbally when someone speaks to you, or being on time...you to have to understand how important stuff like that can be to people. 

 

-If you are going to say something important, like "I love you"...say it like you mean it.  Say it like your life depends on it.  Don't half-ass it, pardon my French, and just utter it like it's a catchphrase.  A half-hearted, "love you" does not suffice.  If you saw a bomb in the middle of a crowd, would you say under your breath, "bomb" OR would you say, "HEY, THERE'S A FREAKING BOMB!"  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it may to whom you say it to...

 

-Acknowledge people, look them in the eye and show them that you are listening when they are talking to you.  Nobody likes to talk and feel like the other person isn't listening.  Doctors are often accused of this, and in our defense we have to write down a bunch of stuff while you talk so we don't get sued...but still, listen to people...

 

-If someone does something nice for you, bend over backwards to let them know you appreciate it.  The fastest way to get the nice things to go away is failure to seem truly appreciative.  There's "thank you" and then there's "THANK YOU!!"  Sons and daughters beware...we fall into this category because we get complacent with our parents doing nice things for us.  Don't ever fall into the trap of acting like a good deed is ROUTINE.  Nice things can stop as fast as they are started. 

 

-Some people don't want a devil's advocate.  It's one thing to always want the best for someone, but it's another to question their every move.  Parents, beware of this one.  You may not agree with a decision, but if you strive to be a source of strength and a confidant, you may not get very far by playing the antagonist.  Some people break themselves down all the time, and a little thing they'd need is someone to help build them back up...not stomp all over their self-ruins...

 

-On the opposite side of the coin from the above, don't be too positive.  Read the person to gauge what they want...be honest and offer advice if asked for it...and don't sugar coat things.

 

-To spouses and significant others...never stop acting like you did with each other when you first met.  Be excited to see them when they get home!  Act excited to them when you get home!  Always start off the morning with affection.  End the night with the same.  Learn from canines, who clearly exhibit this quality. 

 

Always remember what little things are important to you.  Integrate them into your relationships of all kinds.  It will improve your life....I guarantee it...

 

Thinking good things (little and big) for all of you,

 

Chad